Carefully Crafted on August 18

#CitizenGulf Leverages Social Media to Incite Action

While the news coverage may have died down a bit, the Gulf Coast is still suffering, especially the fishing families. Instead of relying on the government or BP to “fix it,” a group of people — including Geoff Livingston and the Citizen Effect team — have organized a national day of action on August 25, aligning with the fifth anniversary of the week of Hurricane Katrina. According to, the #CitizenGulf National Day of Action “seeks to help fishing families affected by the BP oil spill find a new, more sustainable future by providing education resources for their children.”

The effort focuses on three simple calls to action:

Illustrating the true power of online communities, #CitizenGulf is partnering with Social Media Clubs around the country to activate a diverse group of people and touch a number of “niche” communities — not just the “techies” or the “nonprofits.” On August 25, events are being planned in more than 15 cities — from Boston to Honolulu … from Detroit to Houston. Plus, there’s still time to create your own event. From Geoff’s blog:

The primary Citizen Effect beneficiary is Catholic Charities of New Orleans. They have created a means for you to help the children of fishing families with better education resources via the After School Assembly program. This is so they can find a new way of life if they choose to do so. All money sans credit card transactions goes directly to this program.

#CitizenGulf makes it very simple for anyone to be part of meaningful change — not just talking about how bad we feel for fishing families, but actually acting to assist them. A blueprint for social media success, the effort began with a fact-finding mission (publicly documented via iReport and Twitter, among other channels). Based on this research, a strategy was developed to offer simple ways for anyone to get involved. (It doesn’t get more simple than “attend, donate, vote.”) Plus, the campaign includes measurable goals — most notably a specific dollar amount and a target number of participants. Then, the team identified the tools that would most effectively facilitate the campaign and communicate the message.

For nonprofits and cause marketers trying to understand how to leverage social media to inspire change — not just to amass fans or followers — look to this campaign for some valuable lessons. In the meantime, don’t forget to attend, donate or vote on August 25 to support #CitizenGulf.

Photo credit: Citizen Gulf


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